Sometimes It is Best to be Quiet

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:51-75

Free_Speech_Resized

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied (Matthew 26:62-64a, Common English Bible).

Sitting in the hospital waiting room one-day several years ago, the doctor came out to talk with a family. It was obvious from the look on the doctor’s face said all anyone would really need to know. The surgery had gone on for hours. Now it was over but what I would think would be the most difficult part of the doctor’s job was still in front of him, giving the family the bad news. I could hear him say, “the brain tumor was larger than we thought. I’m afraid we couldn’t remove all of it and you should know there is nothing else we can do. I’m so sorry.” Before I knew it, the doctor was gone.

The doctor couldn’t have taken ten steps from the family when a woman went to the woman to whom the doctor had spoken. She gave her friend a hug and said, “I know just how you feel.” I cringed at her words. Then she continued, “Enjoy the time you have left with Bob. God needs him more than you do.”

The reason (and the family) I was at the hospital was momentarily forgotten. I wanted to go and grab the woman and drag her out of the waiting room and ask her, “Have you lost your mind? You have no idea how she feels. And, you have little idea as to what God needs and what God doesn’t. Please, try to sit there and be quiet. Your friend needs you to be there, not to speak.”

I sat there and didn’t say anything (for those who have known me longest have a pretty good idea how hard that is for me, in fact, they are probably surprised I could manage such a feat). I said nothing because I realized the hospital waiting room was not the place for neither theological debate or creating a scene. I sincerely doubt I could have changed the woman’s mind or get her to “do no harm” by saying nothing else.

Jesus realized as he stood before the Sanhedrin that he could say was going to make any difference. They were determined to find fault with him. When they couldn’t find a real reason they were willing to take a fictional account. And sure, the accusation that was finally made was something Jesus actually did say, he could tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days. Yes, Jesus said it, but those words were taken out of context.

When Jesus is talking about the destruction of the Temple and rebuilding it in three days he is alluding to his death and resurrection. Just as the religious leaders were destroying Temple worship, they would destroy him as well. But he would not stay destroyed. In three days he would rise again.

Jesus knew the Sanhedrin wouldn’t understand. Except when asked a direct question Jesus did the best thing he could do. He stood there saying nothing.

Sometimes we need to do the same. What we might say can cause more problems. What we might say might not be what someone needs to hear. What we can do is to present a ministry of presence. Those we love, more often than not, need to know we are there. We are there to help them find peace and comfort in situations where they have little control. We best offer that when we let God work through us and make a real effort to let God be the one who speaks, probably not by words but by actions.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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